Yanaka Ginza is located not too far from the redeveloped areas of Shibuya and Shinjuku, but since redevelopment has not progressed here, you can enjoy the historic buildings and retro atmosphere of the streets.

At the heart of this historic Tokyo neighborhood is the Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street. Stretching 170m long with around 60 individual shops lining the narrow street, it exudes the charm of Japan's traditional shopping streets. Just a 5-minute walk from Nippori Station, this shopping street beloved by locals and tourists alike is bustling with visitors every day. 

Yanaka Ginza is also famous for its beautiful red sunsets, with few high-rise buildings allowing for wide open sky views. The area has many great photo spots for sunsets, including the stairs called "Yuyake Dandan" at the eastern end of the shopping street.

Best Sunset Spot: "Yuyake Dandan"

Yuyake dandan
Source: Jalan

As its name suggests, "Yuyake Dandan" is a set of stairs perfect for viewing the beautiful sunset. At dusk, many gather here to take in the view.

Located at the eastern end of the east-west running shopping street, from the top of the stairs you can capture both the sunset and the retro streetscape in one frame. Not only the sunset, but the warm glow of the shopping street's lights against the growing darkness also creates a charming atmosphere. Yuyake Dandan allows you to photograph these two together, making it a photogenic spot.

Best Time for Great Shots

The "magic hour" is the recommended time to aim for the best shots at Yuyake Dandan. During the magic hour, the upper part of the sky remains blue while the lower portion turns red from the sunset, creating a beautiful gradation effect.

The magic hour is 10-15 minutes just after sunset. As a guide, sunset is around 4:30 pm in January, 6pm in April, 7 pm in July, and 5:30 pm in October. However, this very short window changes day by day, so it's best to check the sunset time in advance before visiting.

The best time for capturing breathtaking shots here is during the "magic hour" just after sunset when the sky transitions from blue to red, creating a beautiful gradation. This lasts only 10-15 minutes after sundown though, so check sunset times beforehand.

Recommended Shooting Positions

View from top of the steps

When photographing Yuyake Dandan, it's recommended to shoot from the very top of the stairs to frame the staircase and shopping street below. Another good option is to position yourself on the far right side and pan your camera left to capture the shopping street and surrounding neighborhoods in one frame.

Yuyake Dandan offers countless other picturesque angles, and the direction of the setting sun changes with the seasons. This allows you to capture truly unique photos specific to that day and time, brimming with your own personal perspective. Be sure to seek out your own best angle.

Personally, I enjoy framing the people walking along the stairs and street against the nostalgic buildings. To me, the timeless smiling faces juxtaposed with the old-fashioned surroundings encapsulate the charm of Yanaka Ginza.

Other Great Yanaka Ginza Sunset Spots

Yanaka Cemetery

Yanaka Cemetery
Source: TripAdvisor

Just a 5-minute walk away, the massive Yanaka Cemetery offers views of the sunset with seasonal scenery like cherry blossoms in spring and ginkgo trees in fall, often with the Tokyo Skytree in the background. With fewer people around than the shopping street, you may even spot some cats.

- Address: Yanaka 7-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Hours: Open 24 hours (Office hours 8:30 am-5:30 pm, closed New Year's holidays)  
- Phone: 03-3821-4456
- Official Website: https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/reien/yanaka/index.htm

Nezu Shrine

Nezu Shrine
Source: Official Website

Around a 15-minute walk, this historic shrine's azalea gardens and famous path of torii gates backed by the sunset create atmospheric photos.

Nezu Shrine is a historic shrine located about 15 minutes on foot from Yanaka Ginza. Famous for its azalea flowers, it holds an annual Azalea Festival every April that draws many visitors. The long path of the torii gates is also a celebrated sight, reminiscent of the renowned torii tunnels at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.

In the evening hours, Nezu Shrine takes on a serene atmosphere where you can hear the sounds of nature like birds and wind. The sunset here is breathtaking, casting a warm glow on the torii gates and shrine buildings for atmospheric photos.

- Address: 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: 03-3822-0753  
- Official Website: https://nedujinja.or.jp/keidaiannai/

Photogenic Cafes Around Yanaka Ginza



This unique cafe was renovated from a 70-year-old public bathhouse. Maintaining touches like tiled walls and floors in the former bathing area turned counter seating area, it has a nostalgic atmosphere. Be sure to try their rich, high-quality Okumidori matcha green tea from Shizuoka. 

<Shop Information>
- Address: 2-19-8 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, SENTO Building 1C
- Phone: 03-6882-9205
- Hours: Weekdays 11:30 am-6:30 pm, Weekends/Holidays 10:00 am-6:30 pm
- Closed: Irregular
- Website: https://www.miyanoyu.tokyo/

Kayaba Coffee (Historic Café)

Source: Tabelog

Operating since 1938 in a renovated 1916 house, this historic cafe exudes the warmth of a traditional Japanese home. Their signature "Lucian" beverage blends coffee and cocoa for a mild, unique flavor. The egg sandwiches are also a must-try. Reservation is recommended as it's very popular.

<Shop Information>
- Address: 6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Closed: Mondays (Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday)
- Hours: 8 am-6 pm  
- instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kayabacoffee/

Useful Japanese Phrases for Taking Photos

When you want someone to take your photo at a nice spot, these phrases come in handy:

"Excuse me, could you take our photo?" 
- Sumimasen, shashin o totte morae nai desho uka?

"Please press here." 
- Kono botan o oshite kudasai. 

"Please frame A in the background." 
- A ga hairu yo ni totte kudasai.

Snacks and Shopping in Yanaka Ginza

About half of the 60 shops lining Yanaka Ginza offer street foods perfect for snacking while browsing the shops and souvenir hunting. Many of the street foods are cute cat-themed treats, nodding to Yanaka's reputation as a "cat town" with many feline residents. The cute, photogenic treats are perfect for enjoying while strolling the retro shopping street.

Yanaka Shippo-ya


This shop sells stick donuts modeled after cats' tails, with 11 regular flavors and a rotating monthly special. The cocoa "Tora" (tiger) with white chocolate chips is a standout.

Strolling Yanaka Ginza while snacking on these Insta-worthy cat tail donuts is a perfect way to experience this retro shopping street. Join a "Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town" to truly immerse yourself in the local history, food, and sights like painting a Maneki Neko lucky cat figurine.

<Shop Information>
- Address: 3-11-12 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: 03-3822-9517
- Closed: Irregular
- Hours: Weekdays 10am-6pm, Weekends/Holidays 10am-7pm
- Website: http://yanakashippoya.com/contents/index.html

Yanaka Ginza offers many opportunities to enjoy the famous red sunset views, like the scenic Yuyake Dandan stairs. Why not plan your visit to enjoy the magical sunset hours while dining and exploring the charms of this historic neighborhood?

The "Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town" is highly recommended for getting the most out of your Yanaka Ginza experience. In addition to highlights like Nezu Shrine, it covers local foods and lets you try your hand at painting a Maneki Neko lucky cat figurine. With such deep cultural roots, having a knowledgeable guide show you around is the best way to truly appreciate every corner of this nostalgic area.

Tour information: https://www.magical-trip.com/product/460ceb6f-0099-47a6-a447-2de274da7e9f